A web developer is an individual or a company that provides services to build and maintain high-end websites. An individual who does this job is likely to have skills that are more expansive than that of a webmaster, who might be a simple end-user using ready-made scripts to patch together a personal website. A developer is generally capable of writing custom scripts to accommodate a client’s needs, and is either professionally trained in, or has ample personal experience working with, various scripting languages.
In most cases, a web developer builds a website from the bottom up, fashioning everything from the home page to site layout and function. A good developer takes into account the client’s products or services along with the target market to create a website that will have specific appeal to that market. The site should also showcase the products or services in such a way that is not only promotional, but dynamic, stressing advantages over the competition.
Websites should look great and remain fully functional regardless of the Web browser being used to view the site. The person who builds it typically checks pages and forms using the top browsers to check for interoperability. He or she is also likely to build in features so that, if an element doesn't show up as designed on a site, the page is still usable.
Easy navigation is a key element in any high-traffic website. Few things are more frustrating to visitors than sites that are laid out illogically, or products that are difficult to find. Implementing a visually appealing webscape that is user-friendly, along with an effective search engine, is one way the Web developer ensures visitors will enjoy their visit and quickly get to products of interest. Interactive pages that display items of related interest dependent on click values, helps to entice visitors to stick around while potentially boosting sales revenue.
The developer must also make sure that forms work properly. There are various scripting languages that can be used to create surveys, contests, and sales mechanisms — the means to securely transfer information between visitors and the website, although browser settings for cookies and scripts can hamper the proper functioning of some Web forms. The developer takes all of this into consideration so that, when a visitor fills in a form, he or she is sure to get satisfaction, and not have the form “hang” or “reappear blank” upon clicking the “send” button. A site that is broken doesn’t look good for the business.
In many cases today, web developers are firms with teams of professionals that specialize in different areas of web development and online commerce. While a webmaster may still be all that's needed for smaller sites, a corporation that wants a custom Web presence and slick applications written with the newest scripts using the latest technology are best served by a qualified developer.